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Richard Stallman on Software Patents 2005-05-18

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Richard Stallman on Software Patents 2005-05-18

Published 2005
Topics Stallman, RMS, Patents

On 2005-05-18 Richard Stallman visited University of Calgary to talk about the dangers of software patents. Hosted by Calgary UNIX Users Group.
RMS makes a few references specific to Canada, but most of his talk is applicable to any country.
This footage was recorded in HD 1280x720x30p at 16x9. I have pan/scanned it to fill a 4:3 frame. For talking head footage, didn't see any point in uploading HD resolution footage. And IA isn't generating properly formatted derivatives of 16:9 (anamorphic) MPEG-2 footage yet.
Audio was recorded onto an iRiver MP3 player/recorder (iFP-790) with an external passive microphone plugged in. There's a couple shots you can see it sitting on the table in front of RMS. Syncronized it with video in post. I find the iRiver a great way to capture audio, but an external microphone is needed as the iRiver tends to clip waveforms. The incoming volume control does NOT work for the built in mic, and the levels are too loud for any practical use. Darn shame.
If anyone has need of the original HD footage, let me know. I can pull it off the camera and post small clips of the raw footage to IA if particular segments are good to anyone. The 16:9 might cut off less of RMS at times too (I was lazy when pan/scanning). Too darn big to post the whole HD thing. Segments with missing footage are exactly that. I was switching tapes or the STUPID JVC copy-from-camera-to-hard-drive program clipped my footage. If you need a missing piece, I'll see what I can do, or CUUG will probably have a 720x480 copy off someone else's camera.
If you're listening to the MP3 or OGG... the long silent pauses are RMS drinking Pepsi.

Run time 104 minutes
Producer NA
Production Company NA
Sponsor Calgary UNIX Users Group
Audio/Visual sound, color
Contact Information <a href=""></a> <br /> <a href=""></a>



Richard Stallman explains how software patents obstruct software development. Software patents are patents that cover software ideas. They restrict the development of software, so that every design decision brings a risk of getting sued. Patents in other fields restrict factories, but software patents restrict every computer user.


00:00:00 Copyrights and patents have nothing in common.
00:05:20 1 patent does not equal 1 product.
00:11:58 Like publicity for a lottery.
00:13:44 If you are going to write a program...
00:16:00 Patent applications are secret until patent granted.
00:16:34 1984 compress program. 1985 LZW patent issued.
00:18:50 Can see all issued patents, but how to weed thru?
00:22:10 Interpreting a patent is difficult. Kodak vs Sun.
00:24:29 Paul Heckle story.
00:28:34 Back to LZW patent, impact on postscript. When standard is patented... GIF.
00:35:00 Zywrite downgrade.
00:37:32 Getting a licence for a patent. Casino game story.
00:39:30 Patent office thinks 1x vs nx is worthy of another patent.
00:40:13 Natural order recalculation patent expensive.
00:41:07 Mega-corporation's patent porfolio. Cross-licensing.
00:41:41 Think Magazine: Issue #5, 1990. How IBM uses its patent portfolio.
00:44:02 Myth of protecting the small inventor.
00:50:35 Free software vs payment-per-copy patent licenses.
00:52:42 Overturn a patent. Prior art.
00:53:50 If lawsuit in US, non-symmetrical lawyer's fees.
00:54:47 Your 3 options affected by many factors including luck.
00:55:21 Penalties for infringement greater if aware, best to cross the minefield blind.
00:57:17 Patents benifit some fields more then others.
00:58:40 Pharmaceutical patent used to be 1 patent = 1 chemical. Occasionally still true.
01:00:38 Software app can contain thousands of patents.
01:01:40 Hard to make physical products.
01:05:00 Software easier to build, so we make more complex.
01:06:00 Patent system creates gridlock. Ideas are NOT key to software progress, managing complexity is.
01:09:10 Impact in economic terms.
01:09:35 Impact on generation of (software) ideas.
01:12:10 Software patents directly restrict every computer user.
01:14:00 - Your webshop it patented.
01:15:44 Canadian government commission rewrote interpretation of patent law to authorize software patents. No public hearings were held.
01:16:47 Too many governments that want to imitate US.
01:17:21 Up to you now. Demand issue receive public debate.
01:17:57 A patent is a long list of claims.
01:18:59 Concept of "a screw". Australia issues patent on wheel.
01:19:55 US patent office issues patent on using a swing.
01:20:30 Kirchoff's current law patent (1960s).
01:21:40 "Just give it some more time."
01:21:57 Can free software build its own patent portfolio?
01:23:54 Don't say "Intellectual Property" to RMS.
01:25:45 Pharmaceutical patents in poor countries = murder.
01:27:44 Patent a loop? Would be like patent on wheel.
01:28:15 Analogy between programs and symphonies.
01:34:00 SCO. Not important.
01:34:34 Contrast 1970s Indian patent laws vs 2000 amendments.
01:41:28 Preaching to the converted? Depends on you.
01:42:26 Future catalyst in US? 2 stolen elections.
01:42:43 Video ends, audio continues. (Video tape ended.)
01:43:56 End of talk.


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